Wow, it’s been a long time…

I knew I had been gone for a while, but didn’t realize it had been two and a half months since my last post! A LOT has happened in the last while. A lot of good stuff. I haven’t been sober, at least not the whole time. I’ve had more stops and starts. Some drinking days and some sober days. But for some reason, I couldn’t make a decision about whether to make those sober days “official,” and keep going, or to just go with the flow and see how drinking just fit back into my life.

I have had so much going on over the past two months that there have been times I wasn’t paying any attention to alcohol at all, days when I didn’t drink and didn’t want to or didn’t even think about it. I seem to have progressed in my ability to moderate more of the time. The tricky part is, though, that it’s not all of the time. And I don’t seem to have control over which times I end up drinking too much and which times I can easily stop after two glasses. So, same old story in that arena. I guess the fact that I’m under less stress, having left the lawyer gig in the past, helps. I don’t feel the same need to drink for stress relief. It’s less a part of my lifestyle, since I’m not around fellow colleagues going to happy hour, etc. Instead, I’ve started two businesses, related to health and wellness. So I’ve got quite a good focus on staying healthy these days.

It’s not enough. I think I hoped that the urge to drink would just naturally fade away as I embraced everything I’ve been learning in the health and nutrition world. Nope, it sure didn’t. And I know it’s hypocritical of me to counsel people about what they’re putting in their bodies when I can’t seem to get my own alcohol consumption under control.

Anyway my point is, I’ve been in cruise control. Nothing really bad has happened in the last two months, in fact my life has propelled forward in the right direction in lots of ways. But I sense impending danger if I don’t recommit to this. Not only that, I know I’ll never reach my potential in my new businesses if I don’t quit drinking. And to top it all off, I know, just in this deep down way, that I won’t get pregnant unless I quit drinking. I just have this gut feeling. And maybe I won’t anyway, but at least I’ll know that it wasn’t because I didn’t give sobriety a fair shot. I’m tired of beating myself up on that front. I want the best possible chance even though our odds are slim.

I think what woke me up to the fact that I really still do need to give sobriety a chance was my 20 year high school reunion. My high school best friend came to visit and we went to the reunion together. She barely drinks… for her, two glasses of wine does her in and she has a hangover (say what??). I told her I envied her and I wished I was the kind of person that was satisfied after half a glass of wine. She didn’t say anything and I wondered what she thought of my drinking… not that she knows really. But I’m always conscious of how much more I drink than her when we get together. So we go to the reunion. And it’s really fun, more fun than I expected. Nothing bad happens. I reconnect with old friends. I make lots of trips to the bar. More than my friends. We get a ride home. No big deal. But I remember being in the kitchen afterward, talking with her, rambling… I don’t really remember what I was talking about, but I’m quite sure that I was obviously drunk, especially to her with her one or two glasses all night.

In the morning we were talking, and after something I said she told me, “yeah, you were saying that last night.” In that way that sober people gently remind you that you’ve already told that story. And it’s not that big of a deal, but I was acutely aware of my behavior at that point. And that I don’t want to be that person, the one who can’t remember what she was talking about the night before, who repeats herself. Because you can’t take that person seriously. And I was talking about my goals for moving my businesses forward and ideas for what I want to offer in this world. I realized, those goals and dreams will be nothing but that, if I don’t get my shit together. If I don’t walk my talk. I’ll never make any of it happen if I don’t take proper care of myself. And I’m tired. Tired of feeling hungover, even mildly. That foggy head, that lack of motivation, that mild paranoia.

Saturday night was one of those nights where I thought I hadn’t had much to drink at all, but when I woke up with the familiar sweaty angst at 2:00 a.m., I knew I didn’t have a realistic view of how much was too much. I replayed the night in my head and didn’t like my behavior. Again, nothing crazy, just not healthy. Not necessary.

And so I floated quietly into Day 1 yesterday. Ironically, Belle emailed to check in on me on that very day, even though I’d been quietly away from her 100 Day Challenge for a couple of months. Weird how that timing works isn’t it? Today is day 2. I am clinging to the hope that I will persevere this time, but the truth is that this is the super easy part for me. Well okay, it’s not easy. But I can press on for a while normally, a week at least, sometimes two, less often three, and a couple of times I’ve made it to 30 days. But that’s where shit falls apart. I don’t want that to happen this time. But I suppose thinking about that now, on day 2, is useless stress and I should just focus on today.

Sometimes I really wonder if I’m crazy. I really have no idea if I’m an alcoholic or not. How does one decide this? I mean, I have a fair amount of control over it, just not all the time. I don’t get crazy. I do have an off switch even if it’s not as early as I’d like it to be. It’s rare that I drink until I pass out. I don’t generally get sick or miss work or do anything dangerous or tragic. At least not anymore. But then why does it take up so much headspace? Why do I find it almost impossible to go without my drinks, even if it is just two or three? I really hate the label alcoholic, and those who truly believe themselves alcoholics seem to be so SURE. I know that it would be disrespectful of me to call myself an alcoholic if I wasn’t sure. But then, I obviously can’t quit drinking on my own. So where does that leave me? Does anyone actually know the answer to this question about themselves?

Anyway that’s where my head’s at. Kind of scrambled up since it’s only day 2 and I still feel hungover from the weekend. I’m feeling really over it, and really ready to move forward. Here’s hoping I can hang on this time. I truly missed all your kind voices of support. Keep em coming. Glad to be back here.

xo
GOTL

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Wow, it’s been a long time…”

  1. I guess this begs the question why did you decide to put up a sober blog? You are questioning the alcoholic thing, or since you don’t like the term, or at least the notion of abusing alcohol. And yet things seem to be “okay” in many ways – you don’t get crazy, nothing much of consequence has happened, you don’t miss work, etc. This is the tough part, isn’t it? What am I? Perhaps you’re a hard drinker. Or a binge drinker (binge drinkers can be alcoholics and vice-versa), or a heavy social drinker. I don’t know. I can’t diagnose ya. So it comes down to what you think you are. Again, tough.

    I don’t have any answers, my friend. There is a part of you that fears continuing drinking – you put this blog up, you question it a lot, you wonder about it…I mean, I don’t question how many brussel sprouts or grapes I eat. It’s a good internal dialogue to have. What is your ultimate goal? Moderation or abstinence? These are the things that only you can say. Again, i don’t have an answer, but it’s good to question these things 🙂

    Paul

    1. Thanks for posting GOTL. You sound so much like me, I am surprised. I am on day 9. This is my first attempt. My goal is 30 days. I am not at the point where I want to completely cut out alcohol, although it may be the best option for me. I like following your story, I am in a very similar situation.

      1. Thanks for taking the time to read and say hello! I am starting with a 30 day goal too. Have tried the 100 day goal several times now and my record attempt is 32 days. Good luck to you and I look forward to reading your journey as well.

    2. All good questions, Paul! I agree, obviously it’s a problem. I don’t obsess over other things in my life like sprouts. 🙂 I suppose there’s part of me that feels like I don’t want to call myself something that I may not be, so as not to offend “real” alcoholics. I know there’s been a bit of disagreement around these parts about people calling or not calling themselves alcoholic… I guess I want to be careful with labels in my situation. The term alcoholic is so… final. I’m just not 100% sure that I have a disease that requires never taking another sip, or if at some point I might heal my life enough that I would be able to moderate. I suppose what I do know is that I end up feeling strongly pulled back here. While I can moderate sometimes, it’s not predictable when those times will be. And I know that alcohol creates severe anxiety, depression, and the like in me the next day. And that I tend to drink too fast. Those are all signs, yes? Maybe this whole questioning thing is elaborate denial? Maybe the truth is, that it will take a period of abstinence, beyond what I’ve been able to sustain thus far, for me to really find my answer?

      In any event, I’m here now and planning to stay, learn, and listen to others. I know I can’t keep living the way I have been. Thanks for your thought-provoking questions and your support.

  2. HI
    I certainly don’t have any answers as I am in a similar situation to you. But thanks for sharing your story so honestly. Consciousness about our drinking must always be a good thing surely? I am finding with age and with periods of abstinence – not for very long – 5 months 2 years ago was longest by far – that this level of consciousness is coming more and more to the fore and does affect my behaviour. I am a long way from getting it right but the episodes of drinking excessively and hangovers are getting less. I realise some would say this is dangerous thinking – that time will solve the problem, but I suppose its my reality. All best and keep writing. xx

    1. Hi Cleo,

      I do find that every time I have a period of sobriety that things seem better and I feel more aware of the positives of staying sober and the negative things that come with drinking. Then again, when I do drink things quickly go to the place that is unhealthy, more quickly each time. So… I suppose it could go either way. One day I wake up and just don’t want to drink ever again? That would be ideal, wouldn’t it? More likely that one of these times I strengthen my resolve because I realize it’s not serving me. Sigh.

  3. It;s nice to see a post from you–I was wondering how you’re doing. Regarding the “alcoholic or not” question, some of the best advice I got was, if I was worried about drinking and I didn’t seem to be cutting back the way I thought I needed to, then just focus on stopping drinking, and come back to the question later. I often wonder whether the “one label for everyone” thing causes lots of us problems. I know it did for me. Some people who seem to suffer what I think of as “alcoholism” seem to have it a loss worse than I do, and I don’t want to minimize their suffering my claiming mine is the same. But I sure had a problem with drinking, and after I’d quit for a while, I could see that the word “addiction” was a pretty good description of that problem. I found I couldn’t think clearly about the problem until I was away from alcohol for a while, and even then I went back and forth for a bit. I guess I’m saying there’s no one word and no one way, but your plan to quit for 30 days and see how that goes sounds like a good one. Best wishes with that! Take care. xo

    1. Yes, thank you, that all resonates with me. I don’t want to claim that it’s hard for me in the same way it’s hard for someone who hides alcohol all day long, misses their life, drinks all day, etc. That’s not me. But sure is true that alcohol is a problem for me, one that is bringing more problems than I want. I appreciate your insight.

  4. I know exactly where you are coming from with your uncertainty about where your drinking sits on that ever present scale of qualifying as an alcoholic or not. Most days I can do a glass or two, somedays none quite happily and then without any real warning the off button just doesn’t seem to work very well and I will have more than I wanted to, nothing earth shattering, just enough for me to feel cross with myself and feel like crap. I’ve had a few stints of abstinence for 4 or 5 months and once I get past that first 6 weeks it seems quite easy to sustain, but then because I’m “not that bad” it doesn’t seem so critical to stay stopped and I drift back to it. I do think that these periods off have really helped me to be more conscious of my drinking and I drink with more awareness, making the overindulgent episodes less frequent which can only be a good thing. I too wonder if I keep doing them whether I might morph into someone who can take it or leave it, ever hopeful 😉 I figure while we are continuing to examine our habits at least we are open to learning more about how we work. Keep hanging in there

    1. It’s a process, isn’t it? Always good to examine our habits. I’m just afraid that if I say I’m an alcoholic, what if I’m saying that because I like the community support of this sober crowd, and I do need help, but what if it’s not really true that I’m a full alcoholic? What if it’s a problem and the problem is situational, or fixable, with a long period of abstinence, self-inquiry, and practice? Then again, what if that’s what all alcoholics think because they don’t want to accept giving up forever? Confusing. But I love hearing everyone’s input and experiences.

  5. Great post, thanks. Count me in as one who is wondering where I fit in as far as alcohol control. Day 15 for me……..my first time going wineless and I am liking it so far. I like following your story so thanks for that.

  6. S many of us are alike. I really FEEL sure I am an alcoholic, but there are a lot of questions in our minds about that. One day I am shouting it loud because I know it to be true, and others….well, I just feel like maybe I can sneak around the label. The constant obsessing about it makes me INSANE! How many days has it been, can I drink, should I drink, I don’t want to drink, but I DO, maybe just a couple….. Holy crap, it gets tiring. So I really just want some quiet in my brain!! After several years of drinking almost every single night – the last couple of years, too excess almost every night, I have gone 35 days “mostly” sober. My few failings have been on the weekend always. I want at least 30 days completely without, but I have not been able to manage it. 😦 I guess we all must try to hang in there together!! Progress as best we can and stay supportive of each other. Thanks for your posts, I love reading them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s